Chapter 4: The rise of Radical Reconstruction
....Radical Reconstruction came into being because of the need of the industrial capitalists to consolidate political control. To achieve this they needed an alliance with the Afro-American people and thus extended democratic rights to them. The struggle of Afro-Americans for their social well-being and political rights, the general postwar radicalization, and the internal dynamic of a Republican machine seeking to perpetuate its rule were all contributing factors in the rise of Radical Reconstruction.
The instinctive shift to the right by the ruling class immediately after the war had been premature; they now made a tactical adjustment and gave one more final push to the revolutionary process unleashed by the war. Radical Reconstruction was the last progressive act of the American ruling class. It took this step out of its own genuine class interest, not as a concession wrung from it by opposing social forces. Since Radical Reconstruction, every gain made in the U.S. by working people, oppressed nationalities, women, and small farmers has required a struggle against the ruling class. But Radical Reconstruction was itself a halfway measure. It called for bourgeois democratic rights for Afro-Americans juridically and electorally but opposed a land reform. Thus from the start it had a built-in contradiction. It gave Blacks legal rights without the economic basis upon which those rights could be exercised and defended. Moreover, while solving an urgent problem for the industrial capitalists— governmental power— Radical Reconstruction left the South’s “labor problem” unsolved.